The growing tomato business at the Kokami market in Katsina State is providing job opportunities for many youths from Kano, Kaduna and Katsina states. Merchants from all over the country patronize the market every Thursday, purchasing fresh and dried tomatoes in large quantities.
Sani Haladu, a labourer from Tudun Wada in Kano State: “We are here every year after we are through with Kadawa in Kano State, and what we specialise in is slicing and sun-drying tomatoes for sale. We charge N150 per big basket or N200 if the tomatoes are small.”
He added that they spend two to three months in the market, especially when there is a glut of fresh tomatoes in the market.
Another labourer from Badume of Kano State, Hussaini Iliya, said some of them were into selection and packaging of fresh tomatoes for transportation to other states: “Not all of us are into slicing and sun-drying of tomatoes; we also sort and package the fresh ones in big baskets and there are others who are into loading the packages in trucks. He also said they charge N150 per basket while the dealers provide them with papers and threads for the packaging.
When asked about their accommodation and feeding, Hussaini told dailytrust.com.ng most of them settled in shanties made of thatches within the market while others formed groups and rent rooms in Kokami and other nearby villages.